When you are contacted by a client and they tell you that they are getting married in a jail well, your eyes open, you ask them “what jail?” and they say “Wicklow Jail”, then you get an idea of the setting for their wedding.
Evelyn and Chip were doing just that and Evelyn gave me a shout in November to discuss the setting and their plans for the day. I have to say that I was as excited as they were and agreed to meet them at the Gaol to go through the day just as they had planned and envisioned it. If you have ever been inside this building then you would see that the Gaol part is a long rectangular building three stories in height with an open stairs connecting the first floor to the second floor landing. The couple planned to have the wedding ceremony at the foot of this stairs just in front of the large window. The 70 odd guests would line up along the two sides (and two levels) of the walkways which were approximately a metre across in width so any photography would have been restricted. As he works in the film industry Chip mentioned that he was going to install production lights back towards the ceremony area which would allow guests to see the proceedings and I knew that this was going to be spot on (excuse the pun) as the light would be directed on on the couple, the celebrant, the proceedings and the guests would be illuminated with (for the most part) any remaining light, thus creating the perfect mood. Oh, did I mention that Wicklow Gaol is supposed to be one of the most haunted buildings in the world? - I’ll leave that up to your imagination here.
We chatted about a second photographer and agreed that it would be ideal to leave one person focus on the ceremony and a second person float around considering the width restriction on the landings. Having been the second photographer at a Kinsale wedding with my friend and wonderful photographer I knew that Leanne Keaney www.leannekeaney.ie was the right person to help me out here - thankfully she was available. I trusted Leanne to focus on the ceremony while I was able to nip around and capture other angles. It worked a treat and we both managed to get numerous same shots from different angles which threw a different perspective into the photos.
Chip was getting ready in the Bridge Tavern so I arrived there first. Evelyn was to leave from cell 30 which was located on the second floor, her two bridesmaids Kim and Fiona, would go before her and this was to surprise guests (that at this stage) had lined up all along the walkway to the entrance hall. Chip was well ready as were all the guests. There was an air of excitement and expectation building up. Everyone was mesmerised at the location.
The ceremony was simply awesome, the love that these two people have for each other was very much prevalent and you could see the pure glee in the guests faces as the ceremony proceeded. It was a lot of fun as well as part emotional, a tear was shed by Fiona (Evelyn’s sister) as she spoke a few words. Fiona lives in Australia and quite a few guests traveled from afar to be there hence the emotion. Fiona’s son Ryder looked the dapper part handing over the rings to the beaming bride.
Post ceremony (and after the kids had shot off all their confetti cannons) I left the very capable Leanne to capture guests mingling and the general ambience of a reception and myself, the newly married duo and Adi headed over to Black Castle to the salty air to capture some couple photos. I've interspersed a few photos of the reception amid the coastal shots to show what was happening simultaneously. To say it was windy, cold and wet was an understatement but Chip and Evelyn were ready to rock here as well and were fearless; I salute you both for your steadfast determination by the way!!!. We captured the few cracking photos at Black Castle the same scene where (if I remember correctly) Chip proposed to Evelyn.
Back to the Gaol we went for the family photos and the wedding feast and true to form the 8 hour whole roasted pig was very ready and looking a damn sight tasty. Coupled with this fine beast (and the delicious crackling) there was potato gratin and braised vegetables served in a red wine jus plus baby roasties to accompany the meat and also for the vegetarians. Many guests were back up for more and the roast more than amply served all present. A few words were said in the speeches and the DJ was ready to take the wedding party onto the floor with some seamlessly mixed vinyl tunes.
I said goodbye and thank you was presented with one of the wedding bouquets (for my fiancé) and headed back to Dublin, delighted with the days events and chuffed that I was asked to capture this rather unique wedding.
Main Photographer: Aidan Oliver Photography
Second Photographer: Leanne Keaney
Ceremony and Reception: Wicklow Gaol
Flowers - Austen Flowers
Pastries & sweets - The Rosie Apple Bakery
DJ - Funky Funktion